Probably a form of Phyllostachys bambusoides, as they are nearly identical and can be used interchangeably. This plant grows up to 72’ tall and 6” in diameter in its native climate, and attains it’s large size quickly in Northern California. The Ph. vivax, along with Ph. bambusoides “Slender Crookstem (PHBR) and Ph. nigra ‘Daikokuchiku’ “Giant Black” (PHNFF) are the largest growing bamboos in Northern California. The vivax reaches 50’ and 5” in diameter. Canes are bright green and smooth. New shoots have culm sheaths that are dark brown with light brown spots. Vivax is hardy to -5 degrees.
- Origin: China
- Minimum Temperature: -5 F
- Size in climate of origin: 72’ tall, 6” diam
- .Sun/Shade: All-day sun down to a half-day of morning sun (3-5)
- Recommended Uses: Exceptionally tall screen or grove, useful timber, edible shoots
- Shooting Season: Spring
- Ideal growing conditions: Lots of direct sun, plenty of water and humidity, good drainage
- Acceptable growing conditions: In shade, should reach 30-35’ in height and get slowly taller. May still reach 45-50’ in height in winter temperatures down to 0 F.
- Special Care: Ph. vivax is relatively easy to grow, but it is especially important during the first year to give it plenty of water and have good drainage. To reach its full size of about 70’, must have a minimum of 15’ x 15’ square area in a climate similar to its climate of origin. To enhance the “open grove” look, cut down smaller canes and some new shoots and prune off lower branches on the larger canes. If more screening is desired at the bottom, don’t prune at all.
- Recommended polyethylene plastic root barrier in average soils: 36” x 60 mil
- Size Locally in open ground: 50’ tall, 5” in diam. (Note: 5 gal size may reach 30’ in height in 5-7 years in most favorable growing conditions; 15 or 25 gal may reach 30’ in 3-4 years).
- Size locally in contained spaces: To reach 50’ it would need about a 10’ wide space with a long length. To reach maximum height of 70’ it would require a 15’ x 15’ space in a location similar to the climate of origin.
- Time required locally to fill in a screen, with most favorable growing conditions and care:
starting with 1 gals, 5’ apart: 4 spring shooting seasons to form a screen, 15-20’ tall then.
starting with 5 gals, 3-6’ apart: 3 spring shooting seasons to form a screen, 15-20’ tall then.
- Height note: May reach 30’ in height in 5-7 yrs from a 5 gal, in 3-4 yrs from a 15 gal or 25 gal.